How To Understand Your Relationship And Resolve Conflict With Couples Counselling
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” C.G. Jung
There’s no doubt that our intimate relationship’s can be an amazing opportunity for our personal growth and evolution. If well navigated, relationships can be a place where we can explore challenges, improve communication, discover more about ourselves and even work towards being better individuals and partners.
Building and maintaining a strong and happy relationship is not always an easy task. Every relationship is unique and every couple brings their own set of life experiences, expectations and beliefs into a relationship. Regardless of a couples differences, one thing remains constant, our desire for happy relationships that are meaningful and fulfilling.
Whilst we all want to achieve the goal of a happy relationship, we don’t always find success on our own. According to the most recent Australian Statistics, In 2017
In 2017 were 112,954 marriages
In 2017 there were 40,032 divorces
The number of divorces is 2 per 1000 people
The divorce rate has increased by 5.2% from 2016 to 2017
The average marriage lasts for 12 years in Australia
The most common age for getting a divorce is 45.5 for males and 42.9 for females
It’s also important to note that 71% of the couples in a relationship have ‘affective issues’, which means their challenges arise from their emotions or moods. It makes sense that having someone who can help you understand and manage your emotions in a relationship is important.
The truth is, many people seek couples counselling to help them build better relationships. Couples counselling can be a supportive process that can empower people to create change in their relationship. Many couples will work use couples therapy to rebuild trust, deepen intimacy and develop more effective communication skills.
When Should you seek out couples counselling?
Generally, people seek out couples counselling when they are feeling unsatisfied in their relationship. There can be a number of unique challenges or issues that lead a couple to seek help. Many couples decide to go to therapy to:
Manage conflict and improve communication
Learn how to support and understand one another better
Work through unresolved issues
Learn how to express feelings and emotions without judgement or blame
WHAT ARE THE most common challenges couples face?
Challenges are unique and varied, however many couples come across the following challenges…
Good communication skills are central to any relationship. There are many things that can get in the way of good communication in our relationship. Feelings of stress and overwhlem can stop us from having the important conversations we need to. Many people often need some additional guidance to develop relational skills like, how to talk about feelings, how to address and manage our anger, how to deal with difference and conflict and how to use language that moves us toward connection vs blame.
Feeling disconnected/ feeling you are growing apart
Couples require mental and physical connection to maintain a strong bond. There are also different stages of relationship that couples have to navigate as their relationship matures over time. Many couples feel close and connected during the ‘honeymoon period’ however they find challenges or feelings of disconnect arise after this time. It’s important that couples understand the stage of their relationship and also be supported to work through the feelings and emotions that arise for them.
Building trust & working through infidelity
Infidelity is not always the end of a relationship and many couples are able to move forward together and strengthen their relationship. Many couples seek therapy to address infidelity. Approximately 20% of couples who see someone for couples therapy are concerned about trust issues. If you are working on building trust in your relationship or creating a new relationship together then couples counselling may be the right choice for you.
How Does Couples COUNSELLING work?
By engaging in couples therapy, couples choose to receive support to deal with some of the challenges they face. Couples therapy can help you better understand the dynamics that are playing out in your relationship as well as provide you with techniques and skills to help you create change.
Couples counselling is a safe and supportive environment that can help you to identify and communicate the issues, emotions and behaviours that are bothering. Couples counselling can also help you to identify and manager individual issues that may be affecting your relationship.
HOW DO YOU WORK WITH COUPLES?
My approach is relational and focused on emotion-focused couples therapy. I will sit with you and your partner and listen to both of your concerns impartially and objectively. During our sessions, I will work with both of you to help you gain clarity and understand your relationship. Rather than focusing on just one of you, the focus of the work is on “the relationship” that you and your partner create together.
My main focus is helping you understand how you co-create your relationship and the dynamics that exist in your relationship. My roles is not to take sides or to make either of you wrong. Instead you and your partner will have the time and space to express your thoughts, feelings and concerns without judgement. Together we will get to the underlying cause of your relationship distress and work on the relationship solutions that you both need to repair and heal your relationship.
Making the decision to go to couples counselling can feel daunting. It’s important to know that whilst opening up and deciding to work on creating change in your relationship may feel a little scary, it is also an opportunity to continue to grow and evolve with your partner.
If you feel you would benefit from couples counselling you can book your session HERE.
Natajsa Wagner is a Clinical Psychotherapist in Private Practice working with individuals, couples and groups. Natajsa is an advocate for authentic conversations that connect us. Natajsa believes that the relationship we have with ourselves and others is the essential ingredient to our emotional health, happiness and wellbeing.
Natajsa is a Gestalt therapist in Brisbane and is passionate about speaking and teaching on the topic of moving from loneliness to belonging and the importance of human relationships. Her focus is on helping people develop self-awareness and understanding of our challenges, so we can create change that leads to more fulfilling and meaningful lives. Natajsa has been featured as an expert both locally and internationally and has contributed to a number of print and online media outlets including Women's Health and Fitness Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine & ABC Online.